top Estimate: Academic Labs 11 Times More Dangerous Than Industrial Counterparts
That's what one of the lab supervisors I worked with at an old job used to write up on the accident reports of about half the students who hurt themselves. Picked up a piece of glass without checking to see if it was hot? You've got some nice blisters to go with that learnin'. Forgot to check the stopcock on a buret and dumped concentrated NaOH all over your experiment and books? (That was me) Oh well, buy another book. Ice shifts suddenly while you're trying to get a beaker full of fuming nitric acid into an ice bath and you splash your hand? (Me again) Get used to having no hair and brown spots for a week. Minor accidents are great teaching tools- so long as nobody loses an eye or fingers everything's good.
Meanwhile, back when I worked in industry I got to see an open can of ether sitting on a benchtop (not fume hood) and the chemist smoking less than ten feet away. Oh, and my desk was in the radioisotope lab for a while- the one with two broken fume hoods and an area around the balance that was hot enough I didn't like to be near it for long periods.
top The Tech Industry Is Getting Ridiculous
Online donations of a 2-month-old cryptocurrency named for an internet meme featuring a dog that talks in broken English raised $30,000 to send the Jamaican bobsled team to the Olympics.
Seriously, I'm not sure it gets any weirder than that.
top Ask Slashdot: What Games Are You Playing?
I'm working my way through System Shock 2 on Impossible as an OSA agent. I've *finally* gotten to the point where my powers are beginning to be effective and I don't have to rely on wrenching every single thing to death now that I've hit the command deck
I also downloaded
The Void last night on a whim off of Steam. Really, really bizarre, and the strategy is not obvious at all. I'll see if it's more an art thing or a compelling game
top Ugly Trends Threaten Aviation Industry
and haven't flown since my first kid was born. As so many others have mentioned, the economics just don't work anymore. I trained on C-152s many years back and they're a nice plane, but even then they were $80/hour to rent one from the local FBO. They sold them right after I got my license and the next cheapest was a 172 at well over $100/hour. To keep yourself from literally being a danger to yourself and everyone around you you need to put in 100 hours/year. $10k/year on a hobby? Yeah, there are a few folks out there who could do it, but not me. Buying a new plane will run you as much as my house, and a used one will cost thousands a year just in inspections and even more in hanger fees.
The only way I think you could do it was the way my old neighbor did- he was a master mechanic who was working on his FAA certificate. He'd signed up with a couple of wealthier folks and he got a fraction of the plane free if he did the work on it.
top Adjusting GPAs: A Statistician's Effort To Tackle Grade Inflation
Students love grade inflation because they love getting A's
Faculty love grade inflation because they spend less time dealing with pissed off students and helicopter parents
Administration likes grade inflation because it means fewer people drop out, which is good for the bottom line. More degrees with honors sounds great too.
All we need to do is fix students, faculty and the administration and we can solve this problem right away.....
top Rosetta Probe Awakens, Prepares To Chase Comet
The most annoying thing about trying to land on a comet is that you can't timewarp past 1x anywhere close to it, and the gravity is so low it takes forever to actually land, or have your Kerbal come down after jumping.
(Would be cool if they'd add a couple to KSP. I bet there's a mod that does)
about a month and a half ago
top Ask Slashdot: Are AdBlock's Days Numbered?
FARK has a tool like this that puts up a little banner asking you to either subscribe or turn off Adblock. I decided to actually give it a try one day. Within less than 30 minutes, my background music was stomped on by a very loud, unskippable, unpauseable video ad.
Adblock went right back on.
I don't mind ads. I understand this stuff isn't free and I'm willing to put up with them provided they aren't going to scream in my ear. But the ad makers don't seem to be willing to adjust their side of the equation.
about a month and a half ago
top Why the World Needs OpenStreetMap
And what happens when the OpenStreetMap deletionists show up?
"Hmm, I could have sworn Clover, VA used to be around here..."
top The Geekiest Game Ever Made?
It's played on a normal TTT board. Each player makes two moves a turn, which exist in indeterminate states. Eventually the players will develop a cyclic entanglement of their moves, at which point a measurement is made and the entangled moves collapse into permanent moves on the board. I refereed a paper on it recently for J. Chem Ed where they used it to teach basic QM to physical chemistry students.
You can play a
version online here
top How China Will Get To the Moon Before a Google Lunar XPrize Winner
Catcha a falling neutrino why don't you.
Being done as we speak, by one of the coolest (both figuratively and literally) experiments ever designed.
(Technically, they weren't falling but rising- Ice Cube uses the Earth as a shield to screen non-neutrino events)
top Kdenlive Developer Jean-Baptiste Mardelle Is Missing
Depends. For us, it was a zero warning phone call telling us to come pick up our son at the hospital. For #2, we were on vacation and got "How fast can you get to Norfolk?"
/Adoption can be amusing...
top Google Halts Sales of HP's USB-Charging Chromebook 11 Over Overheating
Feel free to keep doing this HP: we picked up an awesome employee when he bailed from there. We'll be happy to hire more of those expensive experienced people- you don't really need them to sell printer ink...
top Why Organic Chemistry Is So Difficult For Pre-Med Students
top How To Better Verify Scientific Research
Interestingly, the Economist's article on the same points this weeks notes that there is a group specifically devoted to doing replication- the
Reproducibility Initiative from PLOS One. They've got a $1.3 million grant from the Arnold Foundation to look at 50 high profile papers in cancer research.
top Jeffrey Zients Appointed To Fix Healthcare.gov
Other than the original idea (Heritage Foundation is hardly a shill for Obama) and implementation (The last R candidate for president) of course.
top Users Revolt Over Yahoo Groups Update
Usenet survived the big renaming, despite all the controversy.
Actually the best part about Usenet which is mostly missing today is that the protocol is separate from the client. If you don't like the client you get a different one. This is very similar to email - there's a standard protocol that everyone uses (even microsoft) and then you choose your own client. With Yahoo groups (or google, etc), you have to use their web interface only and if they decide to change it you have to follow along. The drawback of Usenet, which is also one of its big advantages, is that corporations can't monetize it with advertizing and so it lost favor and the completely awful substitute of forums took over.
/., for example. Even today slashdot has a tiny fraction the functionality (and speed) of a high quality USENET newsreader.
top The College-Loan Scandal
Interesting since the president of the college I work at just had a letter about this in the
Huffington Post. One quote: "According to the College Board's 2012 study, Trends in College Pricing, the average tuition and fee rate has increased at an average of 2.44 percent at private, nonprofit four-year colleges in recent years; in fact, when one accounts for financial aid and scholarships, the average inflation-adjusted net tuition at private colleges has actually dropped by 3.5 percent over the past five years. "
Now, that's for private, non-profit schools. Public schools it has jumped substantially, but not for any nefarious reason: it's what happens when the state legislature looks for easy cuts in the budget and axes higher ed first. When I went to William and Mary back in the mid-80s, 34.7% of the budget was covered by the state. It's 12.8% now, but they're still expected to offer everything they did before (and more) as well as give discounts to in-state students. That money can come only from two places: tuition and endowment.
Endowment is an entire 'nother subject. You might have noticed a serious drop in the stock market a few years back? We (and many other schools) run a three year trailing average on endowment draw, so that's still hurting badly. Oh, and you can't get bonds or other securities with yields higher than a percent or two these days.. Couple the two and your endowment income has cratered as well.
Can we cut budgets? Sure: I started here six years ago in IT and my budget is 20% less than was when I joined. Software vendors don't care: my SPSS licensing costs have tripled in those 3 years for example, and everyone else wants their 5% a year bump. And I'm at a healthy school: I've been at ones that aren't and it's worse.
The real abuse IMHO is the loan industry. We've somehow gotten this idea that it's ok to put yourself into debt for the rest of your life for a degree. (And that debt, unlike every other kind can't ever be vacated by bankruptcy) Nobody should take out $100k of debt for any degree, and the feds shouldn't back it, much like they shouldn't back flood insurance for people who want to live on barrier islands. That may mean you don't get your dream school. Maybe it means 2 years of community college before residential. There are plenty of ways to get an education- shop for them just like you would for an phone
top Acer Pulls Back From Windows To Focus On Android and Chromebook
Watch movies, listen to music, etc. Google docs works offline if you have local copies (or create new) No GPS though, but then again that doesn't work on my iPad without a network connection either since the maps need to be downloaded.
Oh, and the Chromebook has both USB and SD card slots, so you can bring a *lot* more music and movies than you can on any tablet without them (like an iPad.)
top Acer Pulls Back From Windows To Focus On Android and Chromebook
Having just bought a (Samsung) Chromebook, I think you ought to try one. It's considerably cheaper than either a real laptop or a (full size) tablet. Unlike cheap laptops, it has an 8 hour battery life, can't get a virus and boots in 10 seconds. Unlike a tablet, it has a 13 inch screen and a typeable keyboard. It has a ton of hidden functionality if you figure out how to access it. Yes, it only runs a browser, but I can get my email in a browser, edit documents/spreadsheets/presentations in a browser, access Evernote and similar services, etc. It won't replace my main computer, but it works great as a travel device.
top Google Argues Against Net Neutrality
I'm honestly confused by your statement. TBL was able to create and deploy HTTP because CERN paid huge sums of money to run a network that could host his servers and he worked for CERN. Buying a business class data line is not hugely expensive and if you want to run a new funky server on your line feel free. The government won't stop you, nor will the ISP unless you're doing something hideously illegal. Or get hired by a company that is willing to pay the freight- most any university will have a setup you can use, ditto major research lab like CERN. You might even get paid for developing it.
Back when I was in grad school there were two guys collecting links into a nice sorted directory. Stanford hosted it for quite a while until it took up 50+% of the entire network bandwidth and the school decided that Yahoo! had to become a real company. Nobody stopped Napster or Bittorrent (technically)
Google's not stopping you from developing the next great thing, nor will they lower the priority of your packets when you do. They just don't want you doing it on a line that the TOS specifically says you can't.